Moscow Visit – 2012

For this visit to Moscow, I went with BAES and George Pick Aerotours

Thursday 9 August

08:50 departure from Heathrow’s Terminal 1 on British Midland flight BD 891 for Moscow Domodedovo. On arrival in Moscow we were met by our escort, Svetlana and coach driver Vassily and taken on a 2-hour drive across a very busy Moscow to the Holiday Inn Sokolniki..

Friday 10 August - Russian 100th Anniversary Airshow.

Our first full day at Zhukovsky for the 100th Anniversary Airshow. The weather was good and the crowds were light.

On arrival we were mis-directed to the wrong entrance - but fortuitously, it gave us the opportunity to photograph the four gate guards as our coach made a three-point turn.

After going through security at the correct gate, I walked down the static lineup taking photographs - before settling down at the western end to photograph the long flying display.

The display was superb - starting with a WWI theme, followed by a number of - mainly western - warbirds representing the Great Patriotic War.

There then followed a long series of flypasts by just about all of the aircraft in the current Russian Air Force inventory - beginning with three Tu-22M3 Backfires, followed by three Tu-95MS Bears and three Tu-160 Blackjacks representing Russia's Long Range Aviation.

Then came the fighters and fighter-bombers. Su-27's, MiG-29's and MiG-31's plus the Su-24 and its replacement, the Su-34.

Transport Aviation was represented by the An-2, An-26, the new An-140, An-12 and the huge An-22.

Combat demonstrations were given by four MiG-29's and later, four Su-27's from the Combat Training Centre at Lipetsk.

There were quite a few western aerobatic teams taking part - but the only foreign teams flying on Friday were the Red Arrows and the Polish 'Iskry' - the Italian Frecce Tricolori and Finnish Midnight Hawks stayed on the ground.

The Russian aerobatic teams flew - and were represented by 'Team Rus', 'Russian Knights' and 'Swifts'.

At the end of a long, very enjoyable but tiring day, we made our way back to the coach at 19:30 for the long ride back to Moscow.

Due to our location at Zhukovsky, photography was not the easiest - we were shooting into the sun and it got quite hazy later in the day - not helped by all the smoke being discharged by all the various flypasts!

Still, I did what I could............


Saturday 11 August - Kubinka, Zadorozhnie Museum, A-90, Khodynka, Central Armed Forces Museum and Victory Park.

Due to the air show having restricted access on Saturday, our Moscow organiser arranged for us to travel to Kubinka to visit the small museum at the 121st ARZ (Aircraft Repair Plant).

After a 90-minute coach journey we arrived at the Repair Plant at Kubinka and were met by a small delegation who showed us around the aircraft on display outside - as well as their small indoor museum.

Leaving Kubinka we travelled back to Moscow to the Technical Museum of Vadim Zadorozhnie on the northern outskirts of Moscow.

Luckily the impending storm held off until after we had photographed the exhibits - including some new airframes obviously acquired from the now defunct Khodynka museum.

The Zadorozhnie Museum is going from strength to strength - with a new dedicated aviation display being planned for the future.

From Zadorozhnie, we headed back into central Moscow - stopping off to photograph the A-90 Ekranoplan on the banks of the river at Khimki.

In the centre of Moscow, the coach took us to the once superb museum at Khodynka - sadly now not much more than an aircraft graveyard.

Most of us stayed on the coach as we were in the middle of a torrential downpour, but a few brave souls ventured out to peer through the chain link fence at the vandalised airframes.

From Khodynka, it was on to the Central Armed Forces Museum - to photograph the outdoor exhibits plus the remains of Gary Powers' U-2 inside one of the halls.

Final port of call was Park Pobed (Victory Park) - where the exhibits are now housed under a canopy - a change since my last visit.


Sunday 12 August - 100th Anniversary Airshow at Zhukovsky.

Another early start for the journey to Zhukovsky - this time arriving at the right entrance after a small detour.

The day was much the same as the Friday display - with the addition of the Frecce Tricolori - so not much in the way of different photographs.....


Monday 13 August - Monino.

A later start on our last day - after checking out of our hotel.

Monino continues to improve - the reception hall is now open and the precious artifacts that survived the disastrous fire of some years ago are back on display in the new light and airy halls.

In the outdoor exhibition area, the aircraft are being cared for and repainted - although not always in historically accurate colours!

There are quite a few new exhibits - a collection of Yakovlev trainers is on display - and seven airframes from the Gagarin Academy next door have been moved the short distance into Monino, although they are not yet properly on display.

From Monino we drove out to Domodedovo airport for our 17:50 BD-894 flight back to Heathrow.


All in all it was a terrific trip - great airshow, good accomodation, good company and well worth the money.

I must stress, this is a purely personal account of the trip - I have no commercial connection with BAES or George Pick - I'm just a satisfied customer.

Ken Duffey

August 2012